Earning victory in their second attempt at the Volvo Ocean Race, the question is whether Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will return for a third edition. If it was up to Adil Khalid, the first Arab sailor to win the event, they’ll be back. “I would do VOR again, why not? Azzam should continue. I will try my best to convince them.”
As the organisation that ran the project, any decision on the future is the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA) to make. The next race will begin in 2017 but the preparation required means a decision on participation, ideally, should be made much earlier.
“I think in 6 months’ time, we might start thinking about it,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, director of events bureau, TCA. “It might be earlier but this is based on all the facts we receive here. How likely it is I can’t say now, because we have to do our homework. Looking at it from the top, it is more challenging.”
Skipper Ian Walker may want the project to continue as well, but he is not sure of his own future involvement. Less than a week after achieving a lifelong ambition – and one as gruelling as this – he cannot commit to another race.
“I stopped Olympic sailing the day I woke up and it wasn’t the most important thing for me,” he said. “If you wake up and don’t want to go to the gym and train and put everything into it, then you shouldn’t be doing it, especially as the leader of the group. Right now I couldn’t do that.
“Who’s to say in three months’ time I won’t have recharged? This is what I do. Realistically, it is a massive commitment and I owe it to my family not to go away. I’ve been home 53 days in the last 18 months. My kids are growing up and it may come down to if you want to see your kids growing up.”
After the 2011-12 race, it was in September when Walker decided to give it another go. Standing by…